Saitama / Japan

The ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2014 continued in Saitama, Japan, on Thursday with the Pairs Free Skating and Ladies Short Program. The Saitama Super Arena was sold out and 18,000 spectators followed the events.
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy (GER) claim fifth world title
Aliona Savchenko/Robin Szolkowy of Germany claimed their fifth World title. Russia’s Ksenia Stolbova/ Fedor Klimov earned the silver medal in their debut at the ISU World Championships and Canadians Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford repeated as bronze medalists.

Stolbova/Klimov delivered a solid performance to “Addams Family” that included a triple toe-double toe-double toe combination, a throw triple flip and Salchow as well as level-four lifts and spins. The Olympic silver medalists earned 139.77 points and moved up from third to second at 215.92 points overall. “We did everything what we can do and I think it is great that we skated that way. I just thought, that’s it the season is over. We knew it won’t be easy (to win) and we came here with the goal to skate clean”, Stolbova told the press. “It (skating here) was difficult by principle, because there was not much of a break in between practice and competition. Yesterday we were able to recover, but today not so much and we showed nerves”, Klimov added.
Duhamel/Radford landed a triple twist, a side by side triple Lutz, throw triple Lutz and loop. They picked up a level four for the lifts, spins and death spiral, but Duhamel fell on the triple Salchow. The 2013 Four Continents Champions scored a personal best of 133.83 points which added up to 210.84 points overall.
“We are very happy with our skate. We had a little mistake but we really kept it together, fought really hard, and managed to finish the program strongly. We have a lot more we want to do (next season) and we want to add a flip in the long so we have a flip and a Lutz. You’ll see us again next year”, Radford shared. “We had a great competition. Not only did we skate the best we have all year, but the scores for short and long were the best that we’ve had internationally and the highest artistic scores we’ve ever had”, Duhamel commented.
Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch (CAN) pulled up from sixth to fourth with 205.52 points. Cheng Peng/Hao Zhang (CHN) remained in fifth place with 194.83 points while Wenjing Sui/Cong Han (CHN) dropped from fourth to sixth (192.10 points) 

Mao Asada (JPN) captures Ladies Short Program
Mao Asada of Japan took the lead in the Ladies Short Program, setting a new record score on the way. Carolina Kostner is a close second and Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia came third. All three achieved a new personal best score.
Asada reeled off a triple Axel, triple flip, triple loop-double loop combination and level four spins and footwork in her routine to a Nocturne by Frederic Chopin. The two-time World Champion scored 78.66 points, thus surpassing Yuna Kim’s (KOR) record score of 78.50 points from the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. “From the beginning of the program I could concentrate on my jumps and the rest I focused on performing “Nocturne” full of love. At the last competition of this season I am happy to skate the best short program. I only thought about paying back the experience at Sochi. This time Lori Nichol, my choreographer, was also watching my program and a lot of people were watching. I was so glad that I could show them my best. I could turn their cheering into my power. My mission here is to perform both programs perfect, so already the half is done and tomorrow I want to focus on showing everything I have practiced”, Asada commented.
Performing to “Ave Maria”, Kostner hit a triple flip-triple toeloop, a triple loop, double Axel and picked up a level four for two spins and the footwork. The 2012 World Champion earned 77.24 points. “This afternoon I felt much more nervous than in Sochi. I kept asking myself why. I think I was not sure if I was able to skate one more time with such a freedom, but then I kept on thinking about the Japanese audience, they have been waiting since 2011 to have this world championship here, so for me it felt almost an honor to skate and go on the ice and skate, and I felt the appreciation of the people. I calmed down and to remember what is important in skating (is) not just to think about the jumps and other elements, but to create something together”, the Olympic bronze medalist told the post event press conference.

Akiko Suzuki (JPN) came fourth with 71.02 points. Gracie Gold (USA) is currently sitting in fifth with 70.31 points and Anna Pogorilaya (RUS) rounds up the top six (66.26 points). All of them scored a personal best as well.